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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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LeBron James takes in Berlin track meet, his latest Olympic sports mix

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LeBron James met fellow Olympic champions runner Caster Semenya and discus thrower Robert Harting at a track and field meet at Berlin’s historic Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

James, in Germany as part of a Nike promotional tour, was later reading about Jesse Owens on the way to an airport, according to one of his friends’ Instagram accounts.

James is an experienced Olympic sports spectator. He attended swimming finals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, sitting with Dara Torres in Beijing.

At Beijing’s Water Cube, Michael Phelps said he heard James and Kobe Bryant ”starting cheers and getting everybody going” as he chased Mark Spitz‘s record of seven gold medals in the pool, according to The New York Times.

In London, James and another swimmer, relay gold medalist Lauren Perdue, were joined in headlines after she turned down his invitation to eat with her at the dining hall.

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James also took in beach volleyball in Beijing with Jason KiddKobe BryantChris Paul and Carlos Boozer.

James, Bryant and Paul all became acquainted with Phelps, sharing conversations in Phelps’ retirement. Fellow swimmer Jason Lezak also provided this story from Beijing:

“I remember leaving the pool, and we were all in the elevator together, me and all these NBA guys,” Lezak said. “I was like, this is so cool. Kobe says to me, ‘Right before the elevator stops, check this out, I’m going to sit here in the back, LeBron’s going to walk out and get swamped, and I’m going to get right on the bus.’ LeBron was swarmed. Sure enough, Kobe sneaks right onto the bus.”

Similar stories date to the first Olympics with NBA players in 1992 — such as Larry Bird and the Dream Team meeting U.S. female gymnasts on a bus in Barcelona. Or 4-foot-6 gymnast Ragan Smith taking a photo with 6-foot-11 center DeAndre Jordan in Rio.

Also in Barcelona, Karl Malone befriended Oscar De La Hoya and huddled with the boxer’s family during his first bout en route to gold. Bird went to a U.S. baseball game and met the players in the dugout, according to Sports Illustrated.

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LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry in Olympic player pool

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LeBron JamesKevin Durant and Stephen Curry headline the 35-player U.S. men’s basketball team expected to attend a July minicamp in Las Vegas.

The 12-man rosters for the 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2020 Olympics are expected to be comprised wholly from players on the national team, though the player pool is fluid. Players can be added and subtracted from the national team at any time.

All of the biggest U.S. stars in the NBA are in the player pool, including all 13 players who made All-NBA teams last season and the entire All-NBA First Team (Russell WestbrookJames HardenKawhi Leonard, James and Anthony Davis).

All but one player from the 2016 Olympic team is back to train under new coach Gregg Popovich, who succeeds Mike Krzyzewski.

The exception is Carmelo Anthony, who retired from international play after winning a U.S. men’s record third gold medal in Rio, where he became the U.S.’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Olympic play.

James earned gold medals in 2008 and 2012, while Durant took gold in 2012 and 2016. Curry has never played with both James and Durant in an international tournament. He was on the 2010 and 2014 World Cup teams (without James) but was not among 20 finalists for the 2012 Olympic team.

Curry withdrew from 2016 Olympic consideration two months before the Games, citing several reasons, including knee and ankle injuries. James withdrew from the Rio team two weeks later.

Four players from the 2014 FIBA World Cup team are also not on the national team — Kenneth FariedRudy GayMason Plumlee and Derrick Rose — all of whom are primarily bench players in the NBA now.

The full national team:

Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Jimmy Butler (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Mike Conley Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)
DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Tobias Harris (Los Angeles Clippers)
Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics)
Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics)
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers)
Chris Paul (Houston Rockets)
Isaiah Thomas (Los Angeles Lakers)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

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